Friday, 27 May 2011

Understanding LACSEG

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Local Authority Central Spend Equivalent Grant (LACSEG) is paid to academies in recognition of the fact that as independent schools they no longer receive a number of services from local authorities (LAs), and must make appropriate provision for themselves.

This can cover, but is not limited, to such things as:

Behaviour support services
Maternity cover, long-term sickness, supply cover
Establishing eligibility for Free School Meals
Repair and maintenance
Museum and library services
School admissions
Termination of employment costs
Health-related services
Parent partnership guidance and information
Monitoring of SEN provision
Pupil support
Eucation welfare service
School improvement
Asset management
music services, visual and performing arts, outdoor education
Premature retirement and redundancy
Monitoring national curriculum assessment

THIS DOCUMENT gives a full description of how LACSEG is calculated.

The following comments courtesy of commentator Peter Downes

Which schools gain most?
The real ‘winners’ are larger schools, with relatively few pupils who
will need extra help, few social problems requiring EWS input, with recently refurbished buildings with low maintenance, in areas which are not facing demographic decline, with staff who are male or beyond child-bearing age.

BUT.....the consultation on school funding 2011-2012 states in paragraph 73:
 "The Government is clear that becoming an Academy should not bring about a financialadvantage or disadvantage to a school."

What will Academies spend their extra money on?
Clearly, an Academy takes on many extra responsibilities and will need to recruit extra administrative staff to handle these. If the Academy does not have many pupils who will need to draw on the extra help previously available from the LAA, or if the academy chooses not to do so, and if the Academy decides it does not need to buy in school support or school improvement advice (as it is already deemed ‘outstanding’), it will undoubtedly have a net financial bonus..

According to local circumstances, the Academy will, for example, spend its extra money on:
Extra teaching staff for smaller class sizes
Better equipment and teaching materials
Higher salaries for the Head and for senior teachers (Academies no longer have to follow the School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document)

The effect of this could be to
Enable it to attract the best teaching staff from other schools with the offer of better pay

Introduce an inflationary effect into the senior salary structure (with long-term knock-on effect on the Teacher Pension system)

Enable it to attract more pupils, thereby increasing its net extra income further and reducing the cost-effectiveness of neighbouring schools.

Make this already successful school even more successful

The ethical issue: is it right to condone a development that will inevitably widen the gap between the most and least successful, improve opportunities for the most fortunate and reduce support for those who need it most?

The financial issue: in a time of austerity is it right that there should be double-funding? In due course the LACSEG component will surely be fully recouped from the LA, or alternatively, the national amount available through the Dedicated Schools Grant formula will be reduced.

And what about central costs? All this will be administered on a school-by-school basis by the Young People’s Learning Agency (YPLA). Where will the extra money for this come from?

Conclusion?: The Academies development is costly, unethical, divisive and inequitable.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Public Meeting

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A public meeting  to discuss the proposed conversion of GHS to an academy took place at the Crofters Hotel last night.

The meeting was very well attended, although regrettably, no representatives of the school governors or management team were in attendance to explain the thinking behind the proposed move, or to respond to any questions parents wanted to put.

Many had come, not only hoping to hear a detailed explanation of how and why the move to academy status would be of benefit to the school, but also to question how the move would effect such matters as school governance, accountability, special needs provision, effects on staff and pupils, the wider effect on the Lancashire family of schools and on education policy and provision in general.

In this regard then, from the schools point of view, it seems that meaningful consultation consists of a few bullet point letters to parents informing them that academy status would be a 'good thing', a few press releases, an invitation to write in to the school expressing your views, or to make an appointment to go into the school to discuss matters further.

Well, I think it would be fair to say, that a consensus view of the meeting last night would hold that that approach amounts to treating the legitimate concerns of significant stakeholder groups with a sort of withering contempt in the face of what may well be the most significant change to take place at GHS over its entire history.

In the remaining three or so weeks before the governors hold an EGM to make a final decision, all that parents and others can do is to contact the school directly and make it clear that this really is not quite good enough.

What on earth is the rush?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Poor teachers could be sacked 'within a term'

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By Hannah Richardson - BBC News education reporter

Poor teachers could be ousted from England's schools within a term, under government plans to make it easier for heads to get rid of under-performing staff.

Read the Rest

Academies: research into the leadership of sponsored and converting academies

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Findings from a project looking at leadership of sponsored and converting academies and how academy leadership might be distinctive from other schools.  The study also explores what the conversion process is like in practice, the importance of context, changes in governance and working with others and what implications academy status can have on leadership development.

"Therefore..... notwithstanding the desire for less involvement by the local authority and an expressed desire to go it alone by leaders in these academies, many do continue to buy in at least some of the services previously provided by their local authority, including HR, SEN, educational welfare services and insurance. However, a number of case study schools noted that whilst some of the services were of high quality, they felt that since becoming an academy, costs for the services provided by the local authority had increased so much that they were no longer seen as good value for money." [P.49.]

Read the Rest

Monday, 23 May 2011

Q&A: Academies

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The coalition government has invited all schools in England to become academies. The Academies Act of July 2010 brought in the necessary legislation for the changes. The BBC News website examines key questions about academies.

A useful round-up of some basic questions and answers concerning academies.

Read the Rest

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Public Meeting to Discuss GHS Academy Status

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As we have previously been informed that no public meetings are to be organised by the school governors to discuss the academy proposal, I am pleased to report that such a meeting has been independently arranged so that parents and other stakeholders can meet face to face to discuss and ask questions about the academy proposal. 

This will take place on

Wednesday 25th May 7.00 – 8.00pm at


Garstang Bypass Road

Hope to see you there.

Monday, 16 May 2011

More Sweeties?

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At some academy chains, teachers are offered private medical care, interest-free loans for season tickets and the chance to study for master's degrees at Harvard and Oxford.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said that if all schools became academies and offered these perks, the bill for the education system would be much higher. "It is somewhat slight of hand to be talking about season tickets when the government is trying to cut teachers' pensions," he said. "Teachers should be paid a good basic wage and then it should be left up to them what they spend this on."

Read the Rest

Friday, 13 May 2011

Budget Cuts

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More than half the schools in England are facing cuts to their budgets, a survey of heads and deputies suggests.

The research comes as the Department for Education announced that more than 1,000 schools have applied to become academies since June 2010.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said: "A third of secondary schools are now either an academy or have started on the road to conversion. This represents a fundamental shift in power away from government and towards teachers.

"Teachers, not politicians or bureaucrats, know best how to run schools."

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Reborn Again

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Thousands of faith schools are set to become academies in a fundamental shift in the role of the church in state education.

A “domino effect” will mean that up to 70 per cent of the Church of England’s 4,800 schools will convert to academy status within five years, according to the chairman of the church’s board of education, the Rt Rev John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford.

A number of Catholic and minority faith schools are due to follow suit, resulting in considerable new powers for church schools over admissions, curriculum and funding.

The CofE’s influence is also set to grow as it fills the void created by cuts to local authorities. As well as supporting its own schools, the church is likely to provide a range of services to non-faith schools, Bishop Pritchard said.

“In the long run that there will be a major shift to academies because it is what the Government is determined shall be,” he said.

Read the Rest